When you’re on a mission you’re on a mission! I’m finding the more I get involved in Secondary Infertility the more fuel it adds to my fight to get it more widely known and understood. My journey and quest to complete my family ended in 2013 when I was blessed with my twins Anya and Xavier. Three children was a huge blessing, one I could have only dreamt of years before, and after the twins arrived 10 weeks early at just 29 weeks, we felt we had been through more than enough. We were done. No more. The natural urge for more children had gone. We were very lucky indeed.
Yet I’d already started writing More Love To Give before the babies were born and so having completed it whilst they were small, I was compelled to try to get it published. Although I had struggled to find information whilst trying for the children, unbelievably, it was actually only at this time that I learned the phrase ‘Secondary Infertility’. Once I’d found the phrase that had been eluding me, I was to learn more and more just how many others were ignorant of the name of their condition, just how little there was written about it and indeed, just how the fertility world itself rarely acknowledged or dealt with the specific complexities of SI.
And so fuelled by the shocking revelation that my condition had a name, being told by a publisher that nobody searched on Amazon for Secondary Infertility and I guess, because I was emotionally more stable on the subject, I was able to take on the mission to raise the profile of this little known subject.
When I started writing the book, I was just starting my first round of 4 IVF cycles. I had no idea how the story would end, whether I would be successful or not. One thing I was certain of, was that if I was successful as I hoped, I certainly didn’t want the book to be a happily ever after tale. I was wholly aware that this needed to be a book for anyone struggling with SI, one that everyone who has suffered in the situation could relate to and that it should not alienate people who weren’t successful at expanding their family. I was also acutely aware that even if I was to be lucky to conceive, many more would not be or had completed their journey, but at the time of trying and struggling, we all shared a pain. I wanted my thoughts to resonate, for them to feel part of the same story and for them to feel like someone understood the situation they were, or had been in.
In the depths of the darkness of our struggle, all too often I had turned the page when I saw a story written by someone who had succeeded. I was the first to say “well it’s alright for them”, “AS IF that’s gonna happen to me!” I wanted real stories, grit, I wanted to hear about someone’s struggles not successes. It sounds strange but I felt so, so alone, that I just wanted to share feelings, know I had a buddy, feel a belonging.
So when a friend told me today that someone they know won’t read my book because I was successful in the end I completely understood. “It’s alright for me, what do I understand about her situation?” I get that. I completely get it.
There is also a paragraph in the latest Real Story on the website that says: “I’m lonely – no one understands. Also a lot of the support online I have found is all from people who managed to achieve a second pregnancy in the end. Whilst I’m happy for them and appreciate it doesn’t mean they don’t remember the pain, it makes me feel like even more of a failure as I didn’t get there and never will. It feels like there is no one out there who has been through this and will always be going through this, like me.”
Some people, like me, will battle the storm of Secondary Infertility and come through the other side with a family. Others will battle the storm but continue to fight their grief on the choppy waters of life, with a longing that still drives them in search of another child. But I have been in that boat, at one time we were all in the same desperate boat – it’s just a shame we couldn’t see, hear or feel each others’ presence.
I know wholeheartedly that not everyone will conceive another baby. I sadly know that many may conceive but may never know the baby they carried. I also know that many will continue to long for a baby when either their body or circumstances aren’t able to give them what they want. It’s a cruel, cruel world.
Yet I’m not sure I would have had the energy or the strength to talk so openly or as boldly when I was struggling. There were times when I was too weak to function, either emotionally or physically and, with all the meds, certainly mentally. I had enough of fight on with Mother Nature and her wickedly ways without trying to fight my corner in raising the profile of SI. I had a son who needed me, a husband who was worried about me, a job that demanded the bit left of me that I had to give so it would truly have been a struggle to take on the campaigning at that time too. (as it goes I had no idea how big an issue it was as, if you remember, I didn’t find out about the phrase and learn about the lack of awareness until I had my children)
I may not be in the situation any more but I haven’t left it, or indeed, it hasn’t left me.
Knowing that there are others who may be feeling the way I had felt, means that, although I am now not in the same boat, I can’t forget them and I feel I must help them.
So if you are reading information on the website or on the Facebook pages and read that I now have my family, know that this doesn’t mean I no longer understand or that I don’t have empathy. The majority of my book was written with an open ending in mind – in fact I finished the book originally without saying whether we had the children until a good friend pointed out that I had left reader hanging and they would want to know the outcome.
The fact that you are still trying for a baby, still battling Secondary Infertility doesn’t mean that you are a failure, or that my body functions better than yours. We are all on different journeys, we are all at different chapters and will all meet various crossroads and have different endings to our stories. Know that right now you are in the middle of yours. If you haven’t found peace in your heart and mind then you are still on your journey. There are so, so many routes; conceiving naturally, conceiving through treatment, donations, fostering, adoption…… And, there is also a contentment to be found in learning to move forward and positively embrace the positives that investing all your time and energy into the family you have can bring, as Susan Seenan kindly pointed out in the Foreword of my book. The one thing we all hope for for each other is peace and contentment.